If you are getting ready for Thanksgiving you might consider putting lobster on the menu. When colonists arrived in the New World, lobsters were almost certainly part of their diet. English settlers reported catching lobsters in nets as early as 1605 and Captain John Smith of Virginia described the bounty of lobsters along the shores of Maine. It seems likely that lobsters, clams and mussels were all served at the first American Thanksgiving.
Thurs_Nov_12There’s a wound healing connection because Chitin is a polysaccharide (N-acetyl glucosamine) which forms the cell walls of fungi and the hard shell of insects and crustaceans. It turns out that chitin has wound healing properties. That’s the scientific basis of Talymed®, a wound healing matrix comprised of shortened fibers of poly-N-acetyl glucosamine (pGlcNAc) isolated from microalgae. The interaction of Talymed fibers with fibroblasts and endothelial cells accelerates the healing process. It’s commercially available now and I’ve started using it in my clinic with really gratifying results. Here’s a photo of it in place in a wound. I’ll show you some before and after photos next month. In the meantime, here’s to lobsters, Thanksgiving, chitin and advances in wound healing.

Caroline Fife, MD
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